Air Peace boss identifies factors that may work against SAATM
The Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Mr Allen Onyema has given conditions under which Nigeria’s domestic airlines can support the much talk about Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), insisting that there had to be a level of reciprocity.
Speaking at a seminar organised by aviation journalists in Lagos, recently, the airline chief while declaring that going about the SAATM process should not be one sided, cautioned Nigeria against opening its doors unrestricted in the name of open skies as other African countries restrict Nigerian airlines into their own domain.
“We have a country in West Africa, they do about four or five flights into this country everyday; no single Nigerian airline is going to their country not because we don’t want to go there but because, they are making it impossible for us, I mean one of the airlines in West Africa.
That country is preventing us from going because when Air Peace went there to set up, what they did was that they slammed us with about $10,000 bill for every landing that you do into the country, you are spending about $10,000, how many people are you carrying on that plane, it is impossible.
“They (other African airlines) are not getting the same treatment in Nigeria, in Nigeria we are laying red carpet for foreign airlines to rape our economy and that shouldn’t be. In the name of open skies, we shouldn’t give unrestricted traffic to the foreign airlines because they are not doing the same thing to us.
“Togo even wrote me, you know stopping me from coming to Togo, they say because one other Nigerian airline has been given one right to come in meanwhile ASKY of Togo was coming to the country about five times a day until I threatened to go to court, that was when they now gave us permit. But they will wait for you in their countries; they will frustrate you that are what we have been getting.
The kind of charges that we pay in this country, their own airlines don’t pay them and that is against the spirit of International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and all the conventions that you can think of, but this is what is happening.
So, we have to protect ourselves, I cannot get offices in my own country and foreign airlines are being given offices.”
The airline has also announced plans to commence flight services from Lagos and Abuja to Roberts International Airport, Monrovia and from Abuja to Kotoka International Airport, Accra on Monday, August 6.
The development came days after the airline secured the renewal of its International Air Transport Association Operation Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate.
According to the Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, Mr Chris Iwarah, the new routes were part of the third phase of the carrier’s network expansion project on the West Coast of Africa.
Air Peace launched its first regional flight out of Lagos to Accra on February 16, 2017. About exactly a year later on February 19, 2018, the airline added Freetown (Sierra Leone), Banjul (The Gambia) and Dakar (Senegal) to its route map.
“We are pleased to announce that Monrovia, Liberia and Abuja-Accra will be joining our route network on Monday, August 6, 2018. We will also be inaugurating our Abuja-Accra service, besides connecting Accra and Monrovia on the same date. This is our way of expressing our sincere gratitude to members of the flying public who have continued to support and endorse the Air Peace brand. The launch of the new services will afford air travellers on the Lagos-Monrovia, Abuja-Monrovia, Accra-Monrovia and Abuja-Accra routes the option of a truly efficient, customer-centric and exceptional alternative”, Iwarah declared.